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In North America, the penumbral eclipse of the Beaver Moon is currently underway on November 30. A penumbral eclipse is the result of the moon travelling through the Earth’s outer shadow, which casts darkness on the lunar satellite when the Earth and the moon align almost perfectly with the Sun. This marks the beginning of “eclipse season” according to astronomers.

In astronomical terms, eclipse season is a point in the year when at least two eclipses occur within a 35 day period.

The second eclipse of the season comes on December 14.

South America will see a total eclipse of the Sun on this date.

Chile and Argentina will be the main benefactors of the Moon moving in front of the Sun from Earth’s perspective.

Why is there an eclipse season?

Over the course of a calendar year, there are between four and seven eclipses – either of the Moon or of the Sun.

They come about in cycles of 173.3 days, just shy of six months.

The reason they come in swathes is because of the angle the Moon orbits the Earth.

The Moon’s journey around our planet is not flat, but rather slightly off at a five-degree angle.

This means that most new Moons or Full Moons are either slightly too north or too south for an eclipse to occur.

However, when a lunar eclipse occurs – which is where the Earth casts a shadow on the Moon – a solar eclipse will follow shortly as the lunar satellite swings around the planet to then block out the light from the Sun.

Earthsky said: “Twice every month, as the Moon circles Earth in its orbit, the moon crosses the ecliptic (Earth’s orbital plane) at points called nodes.

“If the Moon is going from south to north, it’s called the Moon’s ascending node, and if the Moon is moving from north to south, it’s called the Moon’s descending node.

“Whenever the lunar nodes point directly at the Sun, that momentous event marks the middle of the eclipse season.

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“The alignment of the Moon, Sun and Earth is most exact when an eclipse happens at the middle of an eclipse season, and the least so when an eclipse occurs at the start, or the end, of an eclipse season.

“Any lunar eclipse happening early or late in the eclipse season presents a penumbral lunar eclipse, whereas any solar eclipse happening early or late in the eclipse season features a skimpy partial eclipse of the Sun.”

2020 began with an eclipse season and will finish in the same fashion.

The first began on Boxing Day, 2019, and continued through to January 10, 2020.

This was followed in June by a lunar eclipse on June 5, and a solar eclipse on June 21

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